COUNTDOWN TO GLORIOUS GOODWOOD AUDI KING GEORGE STAKES 2.45 THURSDAY JULY 29 2010 AMERICAN CHALLENGER 'STARFISH BAY'.
AMERICAN CHALLENGER STARFISH BAY ONE OF 23 ENTRIES FOR AUDI KING GEORGE STAKES AT GLORIOUS GOODWOOD
MELBOURNE & JAPAN CUP RUNNER-UP POP ROCK AMONG 19 ENTRIES FOR ARTEMIS GOODWOOD CUP
Day three of Glorious Goodwood, Thursday, July 29, offers the perfect blend of speed and stamina with the afternoon’s two feature contests being the £100,000 Group Two Audi King George Stakes (2.45pm) over five furlongs and the £100,000 Group Two Artemis Goodwood Cup (3.25pm) over two miles.
The 23-strong entry for the Audi King George Stakes includes several high-class sprinters such as Fleeting Spirit, winner of the Group One Darley July Cup at Newmarket in 2009, and Borderlescott, who landed the Bluesquare.com Stewards’ Cup at Glorious Goodwood in 2006 and has taken the last two renewals of the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes.
There is also the prospect of transatlantic representation in the five-furlong sprint via the Todd Pletcher-trained Starfish Bay, a four-year-old daughter of Elusive Quality who has recorded victories on turf at Gulfstream Park and Monmouth Park this year. The flying filly also set a new course record for five and a half furlongs at Monmouth Park in June, 2009. She is set to become the first American-trained runner at Goodwood and also the first British runner for her trainer.
Michael Hernon, Director of Sales at Kentucky-based Gainesway Thoroughbreds, owners of Starfish Bay, commented: “She will run for Todd at Goodwood and then we will evaluate where to go with her. She is in very good form at the moment and she is a very quick filly - we are hopeful she will give a very good account of herself.
“We have been thinking about sending over horses to Europe and this filly seemed a suitable candidate, so we decided to take a shot with her.”
Also among the Audi King George Stakes entries are the William Haggas-trained Triple Aspect, a Group Three winner over five furlongs at Sandown on July 3, Gilt Edged Girl from the Clive Cox stable and triumphant in a Group Three contest at Leopardstown on June 10, Richard Hannon’s consistent performer Elnawin and Reverence, a dual Group One winner in 2006 who has hinted at signs of a revival this term.
A tremendous renewal of the Group Two Artemis Goodwood Cup is in prospect with 19 entries at the six-day stage. Aidan O’Brien saddled the great Yeats to victory in the two-mile event in 2006 and 2008 and this year he could be represented by Age Of Aquarius, who beat all bar Rite Of Passage when going down by a neck in the Group One Gold Cup at Royal Ascot. Third on that occasion was Purple Moon, who was also runner-up in the 2007 Melbourne Cup.
Another horse to have finished second in Australia’s most famous race and also entered in the Artemis Goodwood Cup is Pop Rock. The one-time leading Japanese performer may travel over from Ireland for Curragh-based handler Takashi Kodama, who is starting out on his second spell as a trainer in Ireland following a brief stint with a licence five years ago.
Pop Rock, who travelled over to Kodama’s stables in May, recorded a brace of Grade Two victories in the Meguro Kinen at Tokyo in 2006 and 2007 but is best remembered for going down by a short-head to compatriot Delta Blues in the 2006 Melbourne Cup. He also finished second in two of Japan’s most prestigious Grade One contests, chasing home Deep Impact in the Arima Kinen in December, 2006, and finding only Admire Moon a head too strong in the Japan Cup in November the following year.
Komada revealed today: “I have entered Pop Rock in the Artemis Goodwood Cup and the race is an option for him as things stand, along with the Group Three Coutts Glorious Stakes the following day. He also holds an entry in a conditions race at Galway next week but, as long as everything is fine, I would like to run him at Goodwood.
“He is in good form at the moment - he is a nine-year-old but still looks fresh - and he worked very well last Tuesday. Mick Kinane and Fran Berry ride work on him and they said that he is good enough for Galway, but I was too scared to ask them if he was up to Group level.
“Pop Rock was one of the top horses in Japan but his form over the past couple of years has not been up to the same level. There are also fewer opportunities for stayers in Japan and so I asked the owners to let him come over and they were very keen to have some fun with him in Europe.”
Godolphin has three entries to choose from in the Artemis Goodwood Cup, headed by last year’s St Leger runner-up Kite Wood while other interesting contenders include the John Dunlop-trained Akmal, successful in the Group Two Henry II Stakes at Sandown Park in May when he had Saptapadi in second, the Queen’s Free Agent from the Richard Hannon stable and the three-year-old Theology, who went down by a nose in the Group Three Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.
Thursday, July 29, also features the £70,000 Group Three Moet Hennessy Fillies’ Stakes (4.00pm) over a mile and three quarters for fillies and mares. Among the 20 entries is Meeznah, who went down by a neck to Snow Fairy in the Group One Epsom Oaks before finishing fourth to the same filly in the Irish Oaks at the Curragh. Other possible starters include Godolphin’s Flying Cloud, winner of the Group Two Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last year and the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Ship’s Biscuit, an impressive maiden winner at Goodwood in June and a half-sister to Hi Calypso, who landed this contest in 2007.
The going at Goodwood remains:
STRAIGHT COURSE: Good
ROUND COURSE: Good to Firm
Seamus Buckley, Goodwood’s Clerk of the Course, said: “We are watering to maintain the current conditions with GoingStick readings of 8.1 on the straight course, which is indicative of good ground, and 9.2 on the round course, which indicates a good to firm surface. I am delighted with the condition of the course.”
For more information, please contact Rod Fabricius, Managing Director at Goodwood Racecourse, on 01234 755 022, Seamus Buckley on 07774 100223, Bradley Eccleshare, Marketing & PR Manager, on 01243 755024, or Rachel Suter, Racecourse Marketing and PR Executive, at email@example.com